More than 100,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday. They protested against the reform of the judiciary pushed by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As in previous weeks, demonstrations were also held in about 150 other places across the country.
Shikma Bressler, one of the leaders of the protest movement, who spoke at a major rally in Tel Aviv, said: “A prime minister who does not follow the law is an opponent of the state Israel. He will have to face a strong nation.
Israeli media reported immediately after the passage of part of the controversial law in late July that some medics declared their willingness to leave the country. – The coup makes people want to leave. Unfortunately, there are also many good doctors among them,’ said Professor Hagai Levin, president of the Israeli Association of Public Service Physicians and one of the leaders of the protests in the health care community.
Internal Crisis in Israel
On July 24, the ruling coalition passed a law in the Knesset limiting the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn government decisions when they are deemed “irrational”, i.e. disproportionately focused on the political interest without sufficient consideration of the public interest. The dispute over reform has plunged Israel into its deepest internal crisis since its founding 75 years ago. Critics of the changes believe that they will put the country on the road to authoritarian rule, while its supporters believe that they are necessary because the judiciary has too much power.
Protest in the face of escalating violence
Saturday’s protests took place amid an escalation of violence in the country. On Friday evening, Jewish settlers shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian during clashes in the West Bank.
On Saturday, shortly before the start of the demonstration, there was a terrorist attack in Tel Avivin which a 42-year-old Israeli, a city guard who was on duty in the city center that day, was killed. The terrorist, a 22-year-old Palestinian, was shot by a colleague of the killed officer. The bomber was identified by the Shin Bet security agency as a member of a Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. The organizers of the protest in Tel Aviv nevertheless decided to hold the rally as planned, with increased police presence and refraining from playing music from loudspeakers during the demonstration. There were also no roadblocks, as had been the case in previous weeks, so as not to impede the access of security forces and emergency services immediately after the attack.
Main photo source: EPA/ABIR SULTAN